The Government has launched an action plan to improve the country’s nuclear power supply chain on the same day as Sellafield power plant offered 500 jobs in West Cumbria.
Last week’s Energy Bill opened the door to new nuclear plants in the UK despite an as yet undecided guaranteed price for low carbon energy. The challenge now is to train a skilled workforce to build and operate the new plants and sort out the supply chain.
Energy Minister John Hayes said: “Just as atoms collide in a nuclear reactor, the economic benefits of our nuclear renaissance will reverberate far and wide across the country.
“The announcement of 500 jobs at Sellafield today shows the immense contribution of the nuclear sector to the UK economy, in particular that of West Cumbria.”
Sellafield is recruiting for operations and maintenance staff, engineers, project managers among other roles, with positions targeted at apprentices, graduates, trainees and ex-military personnel.
Mr Hayes added the Action Plan will set out how the UK can make the most of opportunities presented by around £60bn of new investment.
The plans will set up a Nuclear Industry Council, which will hold its first meeting in the first quarter of 2013; create working groups in major companies from each part of the supply chain to work out how to adapt to nuclear new build; and give advice to small and medium firms who want to bid for big contracts in the nuclear supply chain.
The Government also wants to develop a nuclear export strategy so Britain can market its potential nuclear skills abroad. Business Minister Michael Fallon said plans will make sure the UK is a “leading player” on the world stage for nuclear.
Big manufacturers said the supply chain will surely benefit from the plans.
Andrew Storer, Programme Director, Rolls Royce Civil Nuclear, said: “We are pleased to have been one of the many industry organisations involved in the development of this action plan and we believe the UK supply chain will benefit significantly as a result.
“Publication of the action plan is the first step on the journey to realising benefits for the UK supply chain. Rolls-Royce is keen to continue to help ensure it is implemented successfully, alongside the deployment of a new fleet of nuclear power plants in the UK.”